Sunday, August 7, 2022

Ahmed Ould Kaddour - Moul El Âloua

"El Âloua" is one of the most famous and moving pieces of the âita repertoire, a staple at weddings and other parties, performed both by modern chaâbi groups and by traditional groups of chikhate. Like most âita songs, it is not associated with a single performer but rather belongs to the collective patrimony. However, the best version of the song, according to many, is that of singer and lotar player Ahmed Ould Kaddour.

Ould Kaddour was born in 1934 in the town of Ben Ahmed. After performing locally for some years, he began in 1960 to divide his time between Ben Ahmed and Casablanca. Kaddour is sometimes called Moul El Âloua, i.e., owner or master of "El Âloua". 

The term âloua in Moroccan Arabic means "small hill" or "hillock". The lyrics of the song "El Âloua" recount the itinerary of a pilgrimage to a specific hillock near Ben Ahmed where a group of saints' shrines are located. According to âita aficionados and performers, Ould Kaddour's version of "El Âloua" is considered the best because of his knowledge of the geography of the region and the location of the individual shrines [1]. Some say that he was the first performer to introduce this level of detail into the song [2]. Ethnomusicologist Alessandra Ciucci writes that the song is "celebrated for its ability to convey images and emotions stirred by the sacred voyage, and for allowing the audience to have the sense of participating in this experience as if it is occurring." [1] (For a deep dive into "El Âloua", its lyrics, the way it emerges in the course of performance, and the crucial role of women performers in shaping it, see Ciucci's excellent article, cited below.)


I am quite taken by Ould Kaddour's lotar playing. Whereas most lotar players use a plectrum, Kaddour strums the strings with his fingers, resulting in a more delicate sound, It reminds me, at times, of the sound of the Mauritanian tidnit

Ahmed Ould Kaddour remains alive and well as far as I can tell. The most recent news I found was about him being honored at the 2017 National Festival of the Lotar. [3] 

Discographic itinerary (for those who enjoy these things):

  • A friend gave me this tape many years ago. It came with no j-card - only a a piece of paper with "No. African Folk" written on it.
  • Being a human from the cassette era, I have only recently discovered that if I ask my phone to identify a song, Google will often be able to identify it when I stick my my phone near a speaker. This has transformed my last few months of non-playlisted radio listening (I'm looking at you KALX).
  • I recently played this tape and, having no clue who the artist was, I half-jokingly asked Google "What is this song?". To my astonishment, the Google lady came back with "Mrida - Aandak Takhlae - Lahssab" by Ahmed Oueld Kadour.
  • I searched for the track online and found this recording on YouTube. The song wasn't an exact match, but it was definitely the same artist! (I guess the lotar riffing was close enough for Google to consider it a match.)
  • Armed with the artist's name, I hit the internet running, scouring for information. The aforementioned YouTube track was uploaded from the now-not-very-user-friendly-and-all-old-links-are-now-dead Yala.fm. However, Ournia seems to have all the tracks previously found at Yala. A number of Ould Kaddour tracks can be found at Settatbladi's page on the Internet Archive - where I found matches and titles for some of the music on my tape. (I wish I could find the title for Track 3 of the tape - the 6-minute unmetered introduction to the track is phenomenal.)
  • The long Track 2 begins on side 1 and ends on side 2 of the tape. I was able to stitch them together into an uninterrupted single track.
  • Finally, I grabbed the artwork from the only Kaddour tape I saw on Discogs. It's not the same album as mine, but I was able to work with the graphic, so there you go.

Hope you enjoy this tape. And hope you're all having a lovely summer!

Ahmed Oueld Kadour أحمد ولد قدور
Sakhi Disque cassette الساخ ديسك


01 Moul Qoubba - Merchoum Sdar
02 El Âloua - Hbiba
03 Track 3

320 | FLAC

References:

[1] Alessandra Ciucci (2017) "Performing ‘L-ʿalwa’: a sacred and erotic journey in Morocco", Ethnomusicology Forum, 26:2, 151-170. https://doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2017.1338595

[2] "Shikh Ahmed Ould Kaddour الشيخ أحمد ولد قدور". Episode of Sounaâ al fourja
صناع الفرجة, Directed by Larbi Toto إخراج العربي توتو, Al Aoula 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNMrbKgbcRY

[3] "سطات: مهرجان لوتار في دورته السابعة يكرم الشيخ ولد قدور مبدع «العلوة» (Settat: 7th Edition of the National Lotar Festival Celebrates Shikh Ould Kaddour, Originator of El Âloua)". Article published at Casa 24, December 3, 2017. https://www.casa24.ma/culture/10429.html

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Al Boudali Ahmed - New Mountain Variety

New Jeblia Selections is probably a better translation, but New Mountain Variety (which Google gave me as a translation of  منوعات جبلية جديدة) sounds like something you'd find in the Stash.

And a nice variety it is, too, provided by the artist Al Boudali Ahmed, about whom I can find absolutely no trace on the interwebs. Side A is a nice long track of taktouka jabalia, and side B contains two tracks of Jbala-flavored chaâbi. Here's a pinch:

I picked up this tape during my visit to Tangier in 2001. Find additional varieties from Northern Morocco in my 2013-14 posts here and here.

Al Boudali Ahmad الفنان البودالي احمد
Visa Disque cassette 10 ڤيزا ديسك

A1 Taktouka Jbalia
A2 Bonus Derdeg
B1 Moulay Bouchta
B2 Jibouli Ezzine Nchoufou

320 | FLAC

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Mahmoud Gania - More from the Crazy Drum Kit Session

This post is a sequel to one of the earliest posts on Moroccan Tape Stash back in 2011. That post shared the tape Voix de Casablanca VDC 53, one of the wildest tapes in the Stash - raucous drum kit rolicking and punctuating along with in-your-face breakneck qarqabas, and non-stop thumping guinbri. 

Today I'm sharing VDC 51, which duplicates a fair amount of what's on VDC 53. Of its six tracks, only 3 do not appear completely or partially on VDC 53. These 3 new tracks (A1, B3, and B4) do not feature the outlandish drummer, but from the sound of the mix and the musicians, they sound like they come from the same recording session. Of the 3 overlapping crazy drummer tracks, 2 contain shorter versions of things on VDC 53 (A2 and B1), while one contains extended material not found on VDC 53 (B2).

So in addition to sharing the full version of VDC 51, I'm also sharing an EXPANDED EDITION of VDC 53, incorporating 4 additional glorious minutes of insane drum kit mayhem not featured on the original tape. I was going to call it The Complete Warren Beatty Sessions since, as I noted before, the gentleman pictured on the j-card, who we assume to be the drummer, does bear a resemblance to the actor. However, one holds out hope that there is a VDC 52 cassette out there somewhere that may contain even more drum madness from this session.

VDC 51 shell

Discographic Questions: The two albums VDC 51 and VDC 53 are clearly related - the cassette company is of course the same, the photos show Mâalem Mahmoud in the same clothes at the same studio, and the music on the two tapes appears to come from the same session. However, I do have questions. The cassette shells for both tapes do not read Voix de Casablanca, but rather Fassiphone. The track names listed on each j-card are completely different from the songs featured on each cassette. And the singing doesn't really sound to me like Mâalem Mahmoud. So I have wondered whether in fact these cassettes are matched with the correct j-cards. If it were just one cassette, it would be plausible that the wrong tape ended up in the wrong jewel box at the tape shop one day. However, for the same error to happen to 2 different, clearly related tapes, is a bit much to believe.

So the questions remain: Is this really Mahmoud Gania? Are these tapes really meant to accompany these j-cards? If so, why are the track names wrong? Who is the funky drummer and where can I hear more of him? Maybe we'll learn more, maybe not. At any rate, I hope you enjoy these, and I wish you all a good Ramadan coming up.

L-Gnawi Mahmoud Gania لڴناوي محمود ڴنيا
Voix De Casablanca cassette VDC 51 صوت البيضاء


A1) Allahuma Selliw 3la Nbi Ou S7abu Lillah
       Sala 3lik Ya Nabi
       Marrakchia a Lalla
       Aicha ou Mali
       Moulay Atferrej 3lia
       Salla 3lih
       Malika
A2) Lalla Mira
       Moulati Fatma
       Soussi
       Malika
       Moulay Abdellah Cherif
B1) Salbani 'Awju Koman Aliya
B2) Galuli Toubi
       Wali Moulay Driss
       Tijania
B3) Allah A Baba Mimoun
B4) Mwi A Mwi Wach Qdaw Ila Berhu Bia
       Malika

 
L-Gnawi Mahmoud Gania لڴناوي محمود ڴنيا
Voix De Casablanca cassette VDC 53 صوت البيضاء

Moroccan Tape Stash Expanded Edition 2022

 
01) Lalla Mira
       Moulati Fatma
       Soussi
       Malika
       Moulay Abdellah Cherif
       Bouya Ribu
       Lemwima Hada Mektab
       Llahi blik ma blani
       Selliw 'ala Nnbi
       Llah Llah Nabina
02)  Galuli Toubi
       Wali Moulay Driss
       Tijaniya


03)  Jilali Dawi Hali
       Lagnawi Baba Mimoun
04)  Salbani 'Awju Koman 'Aliya
       Lalla L'arosa
       Mulay Abdellah Cherif
       Lalla Fatima Zohra
       Lahbib Sidi Rasul Allah
       Sla u Salam 'alik a ya Taha

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Rouicha - Rarad Amazan رَارَادْ أَمَزَانْ

Here's another Rouicha album that I don't see on any of the streaming platforms. 

Rouicha's albums are always sung either completely in Arabic (Moroccan darija) or completely in Tamazight (Middle Atlas dialect). Today's offering is the first one I've shared where he sings in Tamazight. Although the grooves and rhythms are basically the same as on his Arabic songs, the melodies tend to be a little different - less wide ranging, remaining in a narrow ambitus. Interestingly on this tape there are 3 distinct vocal groups - Rouicha singing solo, a female respondent group, and a male respondent group.

Enjoy!

Rouicha نجم الموسم رويشة و مجموعته
Tichkaphone cassette TCK788 تشكافون

A1 Aghoudeh Labas أَغْدحْ لَابَاسْ
A2 Awaroutn Ayoulinou أَوَارُوتْنعْ ايْولِينوُِ
B1 Rarad Amazan رَارَادْ أَمَزَانْ
B2 Ahidous أحِيدُوسْ

320 | FLAC

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Rouicha - Ouaili Ouaili وايلي وايلي

Here's a great album by lotar-master Mohamed Rouicha. It's been a while since I posted anything by Rouicha, though we've recently featured some of his collaborators and an album of covers of his songs. 

Rouicha's albums rarely differ from the standard format - 4 songs over 2 sides of a cassette, all with lotar, some bendirs, and one or several female vocalists singing the song's refrains. It's a great formula, and there's LOTS of Rouicha's music available online, much of it aggregated at the Arab Tunes blog and at Ournia. I'd already posted 3 Rouicha albums here, here, and here. So I hadn't gone back through my Rouicha tapes for a while.

Somehow, though, this album didn't appear anywhere online, even on YouTube. I hadn't listened to it in a long time, and didn't remember it being this good. There's a nice organic push and pull of dynamics between the lotar and the bendirs. Some songs alternate between different melodic sections. (Middle Atlas songs often repeat the same melodic material over and over.) And of course Rouicha's touch on the lotar is always a gift. Enjoy!


Rouicha نجم الموسم رويشة
Tichkaphone cassette TCK872 تشكافون


A1 Ouaili Ouaili وايلي وايلي
A2 Ezzine الزين
B1 Mahboubi محبوبي
B2 Al Âshqin العاشقين

320 | FLAC

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Brahim El Alami

Here's a tape of songs by composer, oud player, singer, and conductor Brahim El Alami (1930-2000). I believe they date from the 1960s and were released originally on 7" singles. I picked up this Tichkaphone compilation in the 1990s.

A native of Casablanca, El Alami is praised for incorporating elements of Moroccan folk music into his chanson moderne / musiqa âsriya compositions. I can't identify those specifically, but I do get the sense that his lyrics and melodies feel natural to the rhythmic flow of Moroccan Arabic. (Âsriya can sometimes feel overly Middle Eastern.)

Apologies - this isn't an ideal copy of the tape. I've edited out the 70 seconds where the kids got ahold of the tape player and pressed the wrong button (beginning of side B); the tape snapped at some point and got repaired (early side A / late side B), and the levels fluctuate here and there (I've tried to adjust that). And the final track "Ait Ourir" sounds like it fades out early. Still, this is an enjoyable, old-school set of songs!

You can find these songs and many others of Brahim el Alami on YouTube. More of his music is available at Ournia as well as on global platforms like Spotify, etc.

Brahim El Alami ابراهيم العلمي
Tichkaphone cassette TCK 546
تشكافون

A1 Khellini Bâid خليني بعيد

A2 Ya Lli Sourtek Bin Âinay ياللي صورتك بين عيني
B1 Allah Isamhek الله يسامحك
B2 Ait Ourir آيت أورير

320 | FLAC

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Half of a Houariyat Tape Will Rock You Better Than Most Full Albums

Here's some killer Houariyat sounds from Marrakech. This women's vocal and percussion tradition is some of the most joyful, raucous music I know. Sadly, the tape met an unfriendly player at some point over the last 20 years. But this half of a Houariyat tape will rock you better than most full albums.

For more Moroccan women's percussion group sounds, check the Stash's offerings from Houariyat and Âouniyat groups. 

Al Houariyat الهواريات
Led by Jmiâ Al Marrakchia برئاسة جميعة المراكشية
Sawt Al Menara cassette MN.32 صوت المنارة
c. 2000

A1 Sir Âlia Aymanek (snippet) سير عليى ايمانك
A2 Al Âyyadi العيادي
A3 Nouri Ya L-Ghaba
B1 Ghir Jini Nichan غير جيني نيشان
B2 Khurji ya Najat (snippet) خورجي يا نجاة

320 | FLAC

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Haj Abdelmoghit - Star of the Âita Bidaouia


2 long tracks of 21st century âita & chaâbi for your pleasure, from the microphone of Haj Abdelmoghit. I know I tend to wax nostalgic for the era of electric guitars and raucous drum kits in chaâbi, but I am not immune to the joys of more recent stylings. This album keeps it real with a viola, some light keyboard (and yeah, a synth bass), heavy on the percussion, and isn't that a drum kit down there in the mix? This works for me. And the album has the flow of an actual live set of music as you'd hear it in performance: begin with something slow and heavy, move through several songs, connected via violin-driven instrumental passages as the tempo speeds up and the sung call/response phrases get shorter and shorter, and ending at blistering speed with a punchy rhythmic phrase to cue the end of the song.

Ah that good âita bidaouia feeling! Abdelmoghit Essaidi (b. 1965, Casablanca) quit his bank job to pursue a career singing it. He's enjoyed great success as a real crowd-pleaser of course at weddings but also at concerts (such as the big Mawazine Festival in 2017). And he has even become a favorite among the Moroccan royals, performing at the wedding of Princess Lalla Soukaina in 2013.

Several of his albums can be streamed at Ournia: https://www.ournia.co/artist/el-haj-abdelmoghit#

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hajabdelmoughitofficiel

Abdelmoghit عبد المغيت
Najm al Âita al Bidaouia نجم العيطة البيضاوية

Moughitphone 20/06/07 مغيت فون

2007

Side A
 Settat Bladi السطات بلادي
 Nti ou Ana انتي وانا
 Souhaba الصوحابة
 
 Irjaâ Oulad Bladi ارجع اولاد بلادي
 Touachi تواشي

Side B
 Hani Mourak Hani Kdamek هاني موراك هاني كدامك
 Moula Âin Ettout مولا عين التوت
 Lemouima الميمة
 Al Âar al Hbab العار الحباب
 Chibani الشيباني
 Touachi التواشي

320 | FLAC

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Orchestre Nassim Bourgogne - Nadia Nadia Bache Bdeltini

Here's some of that good early 90s chaâbi! The artist here is Orchestre Nassim Bourgogne - not to be confused with the famous Noujoum Bourgogne/Mustapha Bourgogne, though one assumes that they hail from the same neighborhood, namely Bourgogne in Casablanca. The catchy catchy "Nadia Nadia" was a big hit in the summer of 1993, if my memory is correct.

I thought Nassim was the name of the singer, but in fact it's the name of the group - Nassim Bourgogne means "The Bourgogne Breeze". Facebook and YouTube are my only sources of information about the group. The Facebook page شعبيات شبابية مغربية identifies the 3 members of the group as Majid Meziane (singer), his brother Saïd Meziane (percussion) and Fakir Mohamed (viola). They appear to have gained some success in the 1980s and 90s.

Many audio and video clips of the group can be found on the YouTube channel TV HADJ BOUIDI, including this great extended clip from a 1994 concert.


The album we're sharing today has orchestration similar to that in the above live clip - there's a drum kit, an electric rhythm guitar and a keyboard. The guitar doesn't get to play much obbligato, other than the opening to "Nadia". I'd love to hear more of that, but I'm also happy to hear it play rhythm/chords, which I prefer so much more than hearing keyboard string or horn pads. And it does play some nice syncopated rhythmic figures during the âita piece that opens side B (audio clip below) - love it!

Orchestre Nassim Bourgogne اوركسترا نسيم بورگون
Nadia Bache Bdeltini نادية باش بدلتيني

Sawt El Farah cassette صوت الفرح

c. 1993

A1 Nadia Bache Bdeltini نادية باش بدلتيني
A2 S'hour Ettaleb سحور الطالب
B1 Chalini الشاليني
      Zaêri زعري


B2 Qalbi Ouellate
B3 Ghebti Ya Hbibi غبتي يا حبيبي

320 | FLAC

 

 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Pluck Yeah! 1980s Electric Guitar Chaâbi Orchestre Plays Rouicha

Well here's something old yet different - it's a tape of songs by lotar-master Rouicha, performed by a 1980s chaâbi orchestre - viola, drum kit, and darbuka, and driven by an electric guitar! I was just remarking a couple weeks ago how Middle Atlas lotar songs work so well in a chaâbi context and vice versa. Here is more evidence (apologies - the audio quality is not the best, but the grooves are so good!):


The vibe here ☝️ reminds me somewhat of the âita-based guitar-driven sound of Noujoum el Haouz. The drum kit is similarly propulsive, and the darbuka and viola pull the track toward the âita sound world. On another track 👇 however, the âita/chaâbi stylings fall away - there is no viola, the singing is in Tamazight, and the drum kit and darbuka switch from chaâbi propulsion to a laid-back Middle Atlas swing. This foreshadows a bit the flangey acoustic guitar-driven Middle Atlas grooves that Moulay Ahmed el Hassani would popularize a few years later.

Unfortunately, I have no idea who are the musicians on the cassette or from where they hail. The Sawt Nassim label was (is?) based in Casablanca, but that doesn't guarantee that the ensemble was based there. I hope someone in YouTube comments can identify the musicians!

By the way, this cassette came to me from Essaouira (shukran T!) with the j-card pictured at right. I was looking forward to hearing it - the duo Arouiha and Oulad Cherif were featured in this old post over at Awesome Tapes From Africa. Was disappointed that the tape did not match the j-card. Luckily, the Sawt Nassim tape it housed is pretty great. Still - that leather tie!

The songs on side B of this album are both featured on Rouicha's fabulous album TCK790, still available here: https://moroccantapestash.blogspot.com/2011/06/mohammed-rouicha-afak-al-hwa-hda-liya.html. I couldn't identify the first track on side A, but the second track, 'Mani L3ahd Mani L3zazit' (featured in the YouTube clip above) can be found on YouTube in several versions, one of which is attributed to Rouicha. (There's no discographic information, but a YouTube commenter claims it was recorded by Rouicha in 1981). It clearly remains a well-known song, as one can find versions of it performed by many artists on YouTube.

Editing note: Side A and Side B of the tape both end with instrumental intros, and both sides begin with intros cut off. So I grafted the intro from the end of each side to the first track on the other side.

Pluck Yeah! 1980s Electric Guitar Chaâbi Orchestre Plays Rouicha
Unknown Guitar-Driven Chaâbi Orchestre

Sawt Nassim cassette 

A1 Piste 01
A2 Mani L3ahd Mani L3zazit ماني العهد ماني العزازيث (video embedded above)
B1 Toub Toub A Rasi توب توب اراس (audio embedded above)

B2 Lawah a Lawah Ammi Lhubb Iâddeb لواه امي لواه الحب يعدب

FLAC | 320